Re: Tanzanian Top Bar Hive with deep lang frames
Hi Vancity, I have some long hives similar to what you describe, although mine are only 22 frames long. If you want to get honey, go longer, 30 frames minimum.
I built them as an experiment, not for honey production but for queen cell production, without having to lift boxes on & off constantly. There is a number of issues with the design but these can be managed. Firstly, they are very prone to try to swarm, this is because the bees will get very concentrated in the brood area yet be unwilling to pack into the honey area. This has actually worked to my advantage as they build good big queen cells, the catch being I can't let them actually swarm, a fine balancing act and I have lost a few swarms from them, which then messes up production. Another thing I didn't realise till I actually tried these hives, is getting the first frame out. In a 10 frame box I normally put my hive tool in & separate the frames widely before removing one. But in a long hive cannot do this, you are forced to just wrench the first one out and hope the queen is not on it getting squished, or start at one end which is fairly time wasting.
The hives are not honey making machines, they do not make as much honey as a vertical hive. They also need more work, as per M Bush, they tend to block in the broodnest & then you get swarming, you do have to move honey and expand the broodnest for them yourself.
There is no heavy lifting because you only take honey one comb at a time, and they don't make as much. I'd recommend raising it high off the ground similar to a TBH, so you can work it without bending. They can look quite attractive in a garden setting.
For a guy with one or two hives this can be a fun way to keep bees as you will have the time to do the extra work. I'd say though, that if you are a new beekeeper with less experience, it is almost inevitable you will lose a swarm or two, so you'll need to consider if there could be neighbour issues or whatever. The bees can be very reluctant to move away from the broodnest sideways so you'll need to be prepared to help them with that, by moving combs.
There is a long hive for sale via internet in my country, being deep lang frames, and 45 frames in the hive. Don't know how successful they are.
44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).